Category Archives: How to Graft Passion Fruit

Growing Passion Fruit: Tips and Information

Passion fruit is a fast growing tropical plant that is fairly easy to grow. Once you have fertile and well aerated soils as well as excellent access to water supply, you can expect to see your passion fruit plants doing very well.

Passionfruit has great nutritional value
Passionfruit has great nutritional value

Passion fruit is a climbing vine and growing passion fruit will need some tender loving care and support for healthy growth and yields in your backyard. Passion fruit is generally a very vigorous plant that grows very fast. Within a very short time, it will have bloomed quickly and created numerous stems and leaves.

Like sweet potatoes, the passion fruit vines will create very large and lobed leaves that sprout out of little tendrils. These tendrils will wrap themselves around whatever form of support that they can find. You will need to provide very good support for these tendrils using various techniques in order to allow them to bloom as naturally as possible.

Passionfruit tendrils
Passionfruit tendrils

Depending on the variety that you have chosen to plant, the fruit can either be purple or yellow and is round in shape. It has a smooth and thick rind and inside, it is filled with an aromatic pulp, seeds and juice. Check the passion fruit above.

Once you have provided a form of support, the passion fruit tendrils will climb up fast and readily and fill up whatever form of support that you have provided them with whether it is walls or fencing.  They will climb high as they can although for practical purposes, it is advised that you nip off the birds so that they can expand sideways.

Passionfruit Vine Trellis Will Provide a Form of Support for Passion fruit plants
Passionfruit Vine Trellis Will Provide a Form of Support for Passion fruit plants

Passion Fruit Varieties

There are various varieties of passion fruit that you can plant in your geographical location. In our passion fruit farming handbook, we have covered the various varieties of passion fruit that you can grow in various locations including what variety to plant in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Kenya, East Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, the United States and South America.

In the cooler climates, commercial passion fruit farmers generally use hybrid varieties of the golden and purple passion fruits. These plants are generally better at tolerating the older climatic conditions. However, passion fruit performs best in the tropical climates.

Some of the hybrid passion fruit varieties that you can grow in Australia include Lacey, PurpleGold, Panama and SuperSweet amongst others. Check out our passion fruit guide PDF copy for your country for information on the right variety of passion fruit to grow in your country along with information on their characteristics.

Yellow Passion Fruit Variety
Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

You will notice that there are certain varieties that are better suited for the tropical climates such as the flavicarpa passion fruit varieties. For cooler climates, you will be better off with the purple passion fruits or some of the hybrid cultivars varieties. All these varieties and their characteristics are covered in our passion fruit farming handbook.

Important Things to Keep in Mind When Growing Passion Fruit

They need lots of nutrients: Passion fruit plants grow very fast and, therefore, need an abundant supply of nutrients in order to support that growth. You will notice that your passion fruit plants have a very lush foliage within a very short time and that must come from somewhere. Without adequate water and nutrients supply, your passion fruit plants might reach maturity and still not produce any fruit. Growing passion fruit vines will require fertile soils and additional fertilizers, preferably the compost manure type. However, don’t overuse the fertilizers otherwise you might prevent or delay the formation of the fruits.

Passion fruits require lots of sunshine: For the best performance, growing passion fruit requires lots of access to sunshine, a warm climate as well as adequate protection from windy conditions. An ideal planting area for your passion fruit is a sunny and sheltered site that is also free from frosty conditions. Some purple varieties of passion fruit can handle mildly frosty conditions. While frost may kill the top of the vines, the roots generally reshoot but passion fruits grow excellently in warmer conditions.

Support: Because the passion fruit tendrils are very long and thin, they will need something that they can climb over. This can be a wall, fence or even poles.

Support System for Giant Passion Fruits in the Philippines
Support System for Giant Passion Fruits in the Philippines

The root systems are vulnerable: The root network of passion fruit is generally quite vulnerable. The best soil for growing passion fruits is generally a healthy soil with lots of worms, microbes as well as various organic matter.  If you grow passion fruit in poor soils, they are likely to wilt, experience root rot or be susceptible to nematodes. Heavy clay soils, for example, are generally not ideal for passion fruit growing.

Watering passion fruit: When growing passion fruit, it is important to ensure that the plants are well watered. Passion fruit is a large plant and is supported by a very small root system. The roots will not dig deeper like those of the other trees. You, therefore, need to supplement their water requirements by making sure that the plant is well watered. Water is especially important when the plants are fruiting. While passion fruit plants need plenty of water, they cannot handle soils that are waterlogged so water them sparingly like you would water your vegetable gardens. The site where you are growing passion fruit should also be one that drains easily.

How to Grow the Passion Fruit Seeds

Buying passion fruit vines is generally costly so some farmers prefer to grow the passion  fruit plants from the seeds in order to cut down on costs. However, when you are growing from the seeds, it is important to ensure that the seeds are fresh. You can purchase seeds from the store you can harvest seeds from the fruit itself and plant them as soon as possible. The seeds will generally take anywhere from 10 to 20 days in order to germinate. On the other hand, the older passion fruit seeds generally take a little longer in order to germinate.

Disadvantages of Planting Passion Fruit Seeds

Even though it is a cheaper option of growing passion fruit, there are many disadvantages associated with planting your passion fruit from the seeds. It is not an efficient way to grow your passion fruits because many of the seeds will not even germinate in the first place.

If you are planting seeds for hybrid passion fruit varieties, they not even grow to type as you would expect. In many cases, you will be planting the passion fruit seeds and you will not even be sure about the kind of outcome that you will get.

Another good reason not to grow passion fruit seeds yourself is that some of the passion fruit varieties are highly susceptible to various forms of root diseases such as the Fusarium wilt. If this is a problem in your kind of soil and you live in a cool climate, then you will be better off with the grafted passion fruit plants. If you live in the tropics, then you are likely safer as the tropical passion fruit plants are generally less susceptible to the Fusarium wilt and are also fairly well resistant to the nematodes.

How to Graft Passion Fruit For Better Productivity

Yellow passionfruit does not have to be grafted. It can grow on its own roots without significant infection by Fusarium.  It can be planted directly into the commercial fruit orchard.

If purple passionfruit is being grown for the fresh market, it needs to be grafted onto the yellow rootstock before planting out.  The two seedlings to be grafted together need to have the same thickness of stem to make the grafting easier.  This means they may not be the same age, as the yellow seedlings are usually more vigorous growers and may be bigger than the purple passionfruit seedling of the same age.  Choose the same size of seedlings, each with stems about a ‘pencil thick’ to graft together.

The pink-flowered banana passionfruit (Passiflora millissima), appears to be resistant to root rot and, when used as a rootstock, also induced a measure of resistance in the purple passionfruit to grease spot (Pseudomonas passiflorae) a serious bacterial disease.

Grafting is an important means of perpetuating hybrids and reducing nematode damage and diseases by utilizing the resistant yellow passion fruit rootstock.

For grafting, you will need the yellow passion fruit rootstock and the purple passion fruit scion. The scion refers to a part of the stem that has been snipped from the parent plant. The scion will be attached to the stem section of the second plant so as to form a grafted union.

This grafted union will callus over gradually and morph into a single plant that grows normally. The new grafted plant will have the qualities of both its parent plants.

Here is a guide to grafting your purple passion fruit:-

  • Make sure the rootstocks and the scions are well irrigated up to 2 hours before the grafting is done.
  • Soak the blade of the grafting knife in a mixture of water and bleach for up to 10 minutes and allow it to dry before you begin using it to cut or splice the scions and rootstocks.
  • Make a wide angled cut into the main stem of the yellow passion fruit rootstock using the utility knife. The cut should be 1 ½ inches long and should be made 10 to 12 inches above the soil.  After making the cut, wipe the blade of your utility knife with a cloth dipped in a disinfectant such as isopropyl alcohol.
  • Remove a three to four inches of the main stem of your purple passion fruit seedlings. Make sure every seedling or scion has at least two leaf nodes. Make a wide angled 1 ½ inch cut on the stem of the seedling using your utility knife.
  • Position the cut surface of your purple passion fruit scion against the cut surface of the yellow passion fruit rootstock to make a union. Wrap this union tightly using a grafting tape.

Cleft Grafting for Passion Fruits

  • Put an opaque plastic bag over the grafted plant. Secure this plastic bag on the rootstock just below the graft union. You can do this by tying it up with a piece of twine.
  • Put the passion fruit grafted union in a shaded area with temperatures not exceeding 65F.
  • The graft union will fully form after 10 to 14 days. Remove the twine after this graft union has occurred.  Open the bag to allow the flow of air. After the buds have started forming on the purple passion fruit scion, get rid of the plastic bag entirely.

Tools to Use

  • Utility Knife
  • Grafting Tape
  • Twine
  • An Opaque Plastic Bag
  • Household bleach such as Jik or Clorox
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Images of Passion Fruit Grafting Process

Grafting of Passion Fruit Using the Top Cleft Method
Grafting of Passion Fruit Using the Top Cleft Method

 

Grafted Passion Fruit Seedlings
Grafted Passion Fruit Seedlings
Passion Fruit Grafting for Better Productivity
Passion Fruit Grafting for Better Productivity

 

 

Management of Passion Fruits

Passion fruit farming is a very lucrative business that can earn very handsome income to the farmer. Nonetheless, it is possible only if good care is taken of the plant to enable healthy crop.

Passionfruit Plantation
Passionfruit Plantation

Weeding

Passion fruit farming can give good yield if the vines are well cared for. The plant thrives well if there are no weeds around it. Thus, weeding from time to time is essential so that the soil moisture is reserved for the vine and not used up by the weeds.

While weeding or loosening the soil for aeration, care should be taken to keep the roots and basal stem intact and not damage them by hoe; else, the vine gets weak and rots, destroying the crop.

Pruning

Good crop is obtained by periodically pruning the plant. Dead leaves or rotten vine parts can destroy the health of the plant. It is also essential to prune some live parts in order to cut down the overall growth and get good nourishment for the plant. This ensures that the vine bears good yield and lasts longer.

Pruning has another advantage too. It exposes the leaves and fruits to bright sunshine that helps in controlling plant diseases and gives rich color to fruit and sufficient scope for photosynthesis for healthy foliage.

Pruning is necessary to free the vines from entangling and the tendrils twining into other plant thus retarding the growth of both the vines. The pruning process helps to expose the fruit for harvesting.

Since the vine is trimmed to give space for new growth, the flowers and fruits are of good quality.

Fertilizers

For a healthy growth of plant there needs to be proper nourishment. This is only possible if the soil is fertile and rich in minerals. However, if there is lack of natural nutrients in the soil, it is advisable to supplement the nourishment by adding good quality chemical fertilizers. Some natural manure like farm rot manure or poultry manure can be equally effective.

The addition of fertilizer to soil is needed at planting stage if the soil is not of good quality. However, in case of fertile land, the process can be undertaken after a year or so, but later needs to be a continued process after the soil loses its bulk of natural nutrients.

A recommended dose of ½ lb of single super-phosphate applied per plant is good at planting stage.

Inter-planting

Passion fruit is a vine and thus planted in rows with trellis support or that of fencing.  Thus there is enough open space to plant other varieties of plants and vegetables to get a continuous yield. Actually, this inter-planting process should be carried out in the first year, when the passion fruit vine is just settling in the soil. Some plants that can be considered are annual crops like egg plants, carrots, onions or even a few short term growing vegetables that do not interfere with overall growth of the passion fruit vine.

Inter-planting help the farmer earn additional income, prevents wastage of space and after the crop is harvested, the remains of the plant and roots add as manure after decaying. The only care needed is not planting crops that have a tendency of sucking the nutrients from the soil.

Pest control

Insects are beneficial for pollination. However, all insects are not good for the crop and some can pose danger in the healthy growth of passion fruit plant. Some of them are Mealy Bugs, Aphids, Fruit Flies and Passion Fruit Mite. These can cause severe damage to the vine or the fruit and should be treated in timely manner.

Passion fruit vine can suffer from diseases like Brown Spots, Fusariam Wilt and Woodiness Disease. Brown spots cause the vine to dry and rot. The tissues that carry the food get damaged and thus the plant does not get proper nutrition. Pruning and spraying with mixture of 30 gm Dithane M45 in 10 liters water helps to control the disease.

Woodiness disease destroys the quality of fruit and the best remedy is to uproot the vine and burn it.

Fusariam Wilt is soil-borne disease and affects the plant root upwards and gradually since the roots are affected and the plant is devoid of nutrition, it withers and dies. This disease affects purple variety of passion fruit and the yellow barely gets affected.

Harvesting, packing & marketing

Passion fruit matures within 70 days after setting. The mature fruit falls off to the ground and can be collected. It is essential to shake the vine while plucking the fruit to free the entangled fruit from foliage. The best time to harvest is morning when the scorching sun heat is not out. A good yield of passion fruit is considered as 15000 to 18000 kg per hectare.

The packing should be ideally done after drying the wet fruit after picking. The crop has good potential in local as well as export market.

How to Graft Passion Fruit For Better Productivity

Yellow passionfruit does not have to be grafted. It can grow on its own roots without significant infection by Fusarium.  It can be planted directly into the commercial fruit orchard.

If purple passionfruit is being grown for the fresh market, it needs to be grafted onto the yellow rootstock before planting out.  The two seedlings to be grafted together need to have the same thickness of stem to make the grafting easier.  This means they may not be the same age, as the yellow seedlings are usually more vigorous growers and may be bigger than the purple passionfruit seedling of the same age.  Choose the same size of seedlings, each with stems about a ‘pencil thick’ to graft together.

The pink-flowered banana passionfruit (Passiflora millissima), appears to be resistant to root rot and, when used as a rootstock, also induced a measure of resistance in the purple passionfruit to grease spot (Pseudomonas passiflorae) a serious bacterial disease.

Grafting is an important means of perpetuating hybrids and reducing nematode damage and diseases by utilizing the resistant yellow passion fruit rootstock.

For grafting, you will need the yellow passion fruit rootstock and the purple passion fruit scion. The scion refers to a part of the stem that has been snipped from the parent plant. The scion will be attached to the stem section of the second plant so as to form a grafted union.

This grafted union will callus over gradually and morph into a single plant that grows normally. The new grafted plant will have the qualities of both its parent plants.

Here is a guide to grafting your purple passion fruit:-

  • Make sure the rootstocks and the scions are well irrigated up to 2 hours before the grafting is done.
  • Soak the blade of the grafting knife in a mixture of water and bleach for up to 10 minutes and allow it to dry before you begin using it to cut or splice the scions and rootstocks.
  • Make a wide angled cut into the main stem of the yellow passion fruit rootstock using the utility knife. The cut should be 1 ½ inches long and should be made 10 to 12 inches above the soil.  After making the cut, wipe the blade of your utility knife with a cloth dipped in a disinfectant such as isopropyl alcohol.
  • Remove a three to four inches of the main stem of your purple passion fruit seedlings. Make sure every seedling or scion has at least two leaf nodes. Make a wide angled 1 ½ inch cut on the stem of the seedling using your utility knife.
  • Position the cut surface of your purple passion fruit scion against the cut surface of the yellow passion fruit rootstock to make a union. Wrap this union tightly using a grafting tape.
  • Put an opaque plastic bag over the grafted plant. Secure this plastic bag on the rootstock just below the graft union. You can do this by tying it up with a piece of twine.
  • Put the passion fruit grafted union in a shaded area with temperatures not exceeding 65F.
  • The graft union will fully form after 10 to 14 days. Remove the twine after this graft union has occurred.  Open the bag to allow the flow of air. After the buds have started forming on the purple passion fruit scion, get rid of the plastic bag entirely.

Tools to Use

  • Utility Knife
  • Grafting Tape
  • Twine
  • An Opaque Plastic Bag
  • Household bleach such as Jik or Clorox
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Passion Fruit Growing: Important Facts That You Need to Know

Each year, passion fruits attract very high prices in the market, particularly towards the end of the year in the months of October-November. The global market for passion fruits has also expanded in the recent years. These factors have attracted lots of growers into passion fruit farming.

While investing in passion fruit farming is a smart decision for those venturing into agribusiness, do not be blinded by the high prices and forget to factor in what it takes to get a good harvest for your passion fruits.

There are many challenges and pitfalls associated with passion fruit farming. A lot of farmers often face ups and downs especially if they plunge deep into the venture without doing their homework and learning what it takes to get a bountiful harvest of passion fruits. These include factors such as the seed selection, proper preparation of land, watering, fertilising, managing the plant and many other critical factors.

Some of the challenges farmers may face include drop in prices due to a supply glut, pests and diseases and lack of knowledge in managing the passion fruit plant for optimal yields.

Here is a look at some of the important factors that you need to consider in order to ensure your passion fruit farming agribusiness venture is a success:-

  • Make sure the land is frost-free and faces a north-east direction. The land on which you are planning to plant your passion fruits should also be well sheltered from strong winds.
  • Have a constant water supply or an irrigation system. You will need to irrigate the plant for the first five to six months unless your region has good rainfall.
  • Before venturing into passion fruit farming, make sure you fully understand the pests and diseases that you will grapple with as well as the control measures that you will need to put in place to control them.
  • Buy the right equipment that you will use to spray your passion fruit plants. For young vines, you can use a boom spray or a power spray to accomplish the job. Due to their vigorous growth, the passion fruit vines will inevitably thicken up. When that happens, you will need a more powerful sprayer such as the airblast sprayer.
  • You need the commitment to maintain the vines until maturity. Passion fruit plants need some tender loving care and if you don’t have the time and commitment for proper plant husbandry, you are likely to fail. Some of the tasks that you need to carry out on a regular basis include regular watering, spraying, fertilising, pruning etc.  Without these, the production as well as the quality of your passion fruit will be reduced significantly.
  • If you will be doing large scale passion fruit farming, you will need regular labour supply for managing the vines, harvesting, picking and packing up the vines.

The Location

As repeatedly emphasised on this website, the location will be an important success factor when it comes to passion fruit farming. In subtropical conditions, the hybrid varieties of passion fruits which are a cross between the common fruit and the tropical passion fruit will generally do well. The hybrid varieties are, however, very sensitive to cold and frost.

The passion fruit should be planted in a sheltered area that is also frost free. Tropical weather is generally the most ideal for growing passion fruit. If you grow the passion fruit in a less than ideal weather condition, you are likely going to experience lower productivity and lower performance.

The Labour Requirements

Large scale production of passion fruit can be quite labour intensive so in areas with cheap labour such as much of Africa and South East Asia, you can look forward to better margins for your passion fruit plantations.

When it comes to growing passion fruit, you are going to need intensive labour supply throughout the year. You need labour for all aspects of your passion fruit growing including controlling the pests and diseases, fertilising the plant, managing the plant, harvesting, collecting and packing the passion fruits in cartons ready for transportation.

The passion fruit vines will bear fruits for an extended period of time. They will carry crops for summer, autumn and winter. In the summers or in places with hot sun and higher temperatures, the fruits should be picked early in the morning so as to minimise the instance of sunburn in the course of the day.

There have been developments in passion fruit harvesting and there are machines that you can now use to mechanically harvest your passion fruit while on the ground. If you are doing large scale passion fruit cultivation, it is advisable to design your farm such that it is friendly for mechanical passion fruit harvesting. This can be done by ensuring proper row spacing as well as a degree of slope for turning.

Cost of Planting Passion Fruits

Excluding the cost of land and other infrastructure such as a dam, pump, trellis and fencing, the labour costs will vary from country to country. In countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Kenya, Tanzania or India, the labour costs is generally very low so you can expect great margins. However, labour costs in countries such as Australia and New Zealand tend to be quite high.  The biggest costs are going to be in trellising the passion fruit, irrigating, planting and training the passion fruits.

Passion Fruits Diseases and Pests

Don’t venture into passion fruit farming if you are unsure what you will be up against. Take your time to read about the various passion fruits pests and diseases and the management practices that you will incorporate to control them. Because the pests and diseases can have a devastating effect on your crop, you will have to use the fungicides and insecticides extensively.

Establishing and Grafting Your Passion Fruit Seedlings

Passion fruit plants are affected by a variety of insects and diseases that can have an adverse impact on the yield and profitability of your farm. Before venturing into passion fruit production, it is therefore important for you to have the proper knowledge and expertise on the management of your passion fruit vines so as to maximize on the production. Optimal yields are achieved through proper management and plant husbandry.

Passion Fruit Grafting
Passion Fruit Grafting

Before you venture into passion fruit farming, it is necessary to know some basics about the passion fruit crop you are going to plant.

Passion fruit seed extraction, planting and grafting

The seed extraction

The first step to establishing your passion fruit crop is seed extraction. In this process, the healthy and mature fruits of the passion fruits that have a history of excellent performance are extracted from the parent plant.

The extracted seeds are then put in water for at least three days which will allow them to ferment and make it easier to separate the passion fruit seeds from the pulp.

After extraction, the passion fruit seeds are then dried under shade. If you don’t store the passion fruit seeds in a cool, dark and dry place, they are going to lose the viability and that means the rate at which they will germinate and thrive will be quite low.

Planting your passion fruit seeds

The passion fruit seeds should be planted into a pre-prepared seed bed. Alternatively, you can also use polythene bags in planting the seedlings which will make the transplantation a lot easier. Typically, the polythene bags should be at least 6cm wide and 22.5cm high.

When planting the seeds, use soil that is sterilized so as to get rid of the nematodes that are like to afflict the passion fruit roots and kill the plants or lower their yields. Sterilised soils also eliminate the various soil borne diseases and various other harmful micro-organisms.

There are various ways in which you can carry out soil sterilisation. For example, you can use hot steam or simply expose the soil to sun for several days before planting the seeds. The germination of the passion fruit seeds will begin at least 17 days after the planting has been done.

Grafting Your Passion Fruit

The rootstock of the yellow passion fruit variety is generally used because it has excellent resistance to the nematodes and various other passion fruit diseases. The purple passion fruit varieties are generally more vulnerable to these pests and diseases. Using the yellow passion fruit rootstocks will increase the survivability of the plant.  The rootstocks should be at least 50cm high and 3 or mm thick.

After the germination, choose healthy seedlings with dark green leaves for grafting. The scions of healthy looking high yielding purple passion fruits will be used for the grafting. These should be collected when the plant has flowered. The mother plants from which you will collect the scions should be raised in an area where there is sufficient protection from insects so as to reduce the occurrences of diseases.

Make sure that the grafting equipment is sterilised so as to prevent the spread of diseases. A simple home based solution that you can use to sterilise your passion fruit grafting equipment is Clorox.

You can graft the passion fruit using the cleft technique or by splicing.

Post Grafting

After the grafting, make sure that the seedlings are watered and a hardened by exposing them to sunshine gradually.

One month after grafting, you can remove the grafting tape from the union and then transplant your seedlings in the field.